UNL Faculty-Led: Japanese Religions and Popular Culture Summer 2013

Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica Summer 2013

  1. What motivated you to want to study abroad?
  2. My genuine thirst for knowledge and adventure. I am an active and ambitious person that thrives on opportunities. I have always wanted to travel the world but did not think I could “study abroad.” However, I decided to take a shot and went for it! I was applying for an undergraduate research assistantship at the time and having these study abroad experiences as a freshman going into my sophomore year could be and was advantageous. I thought it would set me apart from other applicants because my Costa Rica study abroad trip in particular was field research intensive and very relevant to an assistantship at UNL.

  3. In what ways were you able to fund your study abroad experience? (i.e. scholarships, financial aid, etc.)
  4. I earned multiple scholarships and sparsely used loans to fund my study abroad experiences. I was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship ($3000), the Global Gateway Scholarship ($1500), the Duke University/OTS Scholarship ($3000) and the Susan Buffet Scholarship ($216 per credit hour.)

  5. What international University/program did you attend/participate in?
  6. I went on a 3 week University of Nebraska Faculty led program which focused on Japanese Religions and Popular Culture. I also attended a 4 week program co-sponsored by the University of Duke and the Organization for Tropical studies (OTS) which allowed me to study Tropical Field Biology and Ecology.

  7. What were your housing arrangements?
  8. In Japan we stayed in Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo primarily. We stayed in hostels, hotels, and Buddhist temples. In Costa Rica we stayed in San Jose, Palo Verde, Las Alteras, Las Cruces, Las Quetzales, and La Selva primarily. In each of these locations we stayed at the field Station that was a part of the Organization for Tropical Studies.

  9. What were some of the highlights of your time abroad?
  10. EVERYTHING WAS A HIGHLIGHT! In Japan, some highlights were learning about the religions of Japan and how harmonious they are, renting bicycles and riding around the cities, becoming one with the culture, and getting up from sleeping at a Buddhist temple and meditating. In Costa Rica, some highlights were learning all about how to conduct research in the tropics, climbing multiple mountains and witnessing the most beautiful views on the planet, and traveling and becoming one with nature and the different ecosystems of each area or field station we traveled to.

  11. What was the application process like?
  12. The application process was twice as long due to the multiple study abroad programs. It was a very long and sometimes frustrating process. I was very active in making sure everything was taken care of and completed before due dates.

  13. What advice would you give to students who are thinking about studying abroad?
  14. DO IT! Everyone will be grateful they studied abroad, guaranteed! It takes a lot of work and commitment but if you want to go then go and take it!

  15. What do you plan to do with your study abroad experience now or in the future?
  16. I plan on using my study abroad experience in any and every situation I can apply it towards. So far the research experience I gained in Costa Rica has helped me so much with my current research here at UNL as an undergraduate research assistant. I plan to also study abroad in the near future with the Green Program. In addition, I have aspirations of studying abroad with New Hampshire University in Belize to do some archeology and ArcGIS work on ancient Aztec ruins.

Ian Brager in Museum Photo
Ian Brager Photo